Last weekend a silk road started operating between Cairns, Australia's Gateway to the Reef, and the lion city of Asia. SilkAir is the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, and their Boeing 737-800 touched-down in Cairns just after 10 o'clock on Saturday morning. It was the first of a three-times-a-week service between Singapore and Cairns.
Of course, securing this route between our two cities would not have been possible without significant negotiations. I would like to congratulate those involved: Cairns airport CEO Kevin Brown, SilkAir CEO Leslie Thng, Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Alex de Waal and the Queensland government.
Singapore is one of the world's major commercial hubs and the fourth largest financial centre, and has one of the five busiest ports. The new service is expected to bring an extra 20,000 visitors to the city of Cairns each year, with the route generating an extra $14 million in visitor spending during the first year of operation.
This will bring massive benefits to our city in terms of tourism, investment, and imports and exports — and even those looking to study at one of the two universities with major campuses in Cairns.
Singapore is the cosmopolitan gateway between the eastern and western worlds, and I am pleased to see their regional airlines, SilkAir, is making Cairns a major gateway into Australia.